Thursday, February 28, 2008

If I Can Change a Tire...

Progress and change--repentence, as the scriptures call it--is one of the hardest things. Oftimes, when you think you are making progress in some areas, you find yourself slipping in others. The "two steps forward,one step back" principle. Life goes fast. Am I constantly progressing? How can I keep moving forward in faith?

Elder Maxwell said "“The pressures of life will mean that we shall be known as we are, that our frailties will be exposed and, hopefully, we shall then work on them."

Whenever we open ourselves up to introspection, and to new relationships, our frailties are exposed and it's a little uncomfortable. It feels like the puff of air the dentist sprays on a tooth that's already been beaten into sensitive submission by his iron pick.

I have so many things to work on, sometimes it's a bit overwhelming, like eating a buffalo for breakfast. One bite at a time, though. One bite at a time.

But you know, isn't that life and why we are all here? Press forward with a brightness of hope, and joy is the reward. Fukuin ga shinjitsu desu ne!!

Jamie, I saw your list of things to do before you're thirty. I'm going to make one for me, but revised the title a bit. I actually have a lot to think about this weekend.

Let us, then, be up and doing
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait
-H.W. Longfellow

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Night Rider

I visited Heber on Saturday night (it was great to see the Fam!), and got sucked into staying until late late. Finally, Jamie had to take her pain meds and announce to the world that she was "Going to Bed!"

As I usually don't get enough sleep, I had a hard time staying awake driving through the canyon so late. So I mentally made a list in my head of the best songs to drive to late at night when you're by yourself.

So, without further adieu, here are

The Top 11 Songs to Listen To When You Drive At Night Alone:
(note on my criteria: I picked the songs that create the best nighttime "mood," not songs that would necessarily keep me awake)
1)Don't Stop Believin'--Journey
3)Knocking on my Door--Peter Brienholt
5)The Dance-Garth Brooks
6)100 Years-Five For Fighting
7)Who Needs Sleep?--Barenaked Ladies
8)Moonshadow-Cat Stevens
9)Hard to Say I'm Sorry/Look Away/You're the Inspiration--Chicago
10)The Scientist-Coldplay
11) Soledad and 11:20-Colors

If you have any songs you think should be added...let me know. I can already think of some that belong. If Kori ever reads this, I'm sure she has suggestions.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Total Eclipse of the Heart

A lunar eclipse tonight, but the clouds covered the sight. Still, though, a night to be remembered.

Squid, Squash, Surveys,
Admiration and Respect.

Monday, February 18, 2008

"My Life Be Like... Ooh Ahh"

10 Skills/Past Parts of Me I Would Like to Devote More Time to Reviving:

1) Japanese language and Japanese culture

2) Acoustic Guitar

3) Camping/Scouting/Outdoor activities

4) Newspaper column/book idea

5) Video projects

6) Fishing in Alaska

7) Dutch Oven Cooking

8) Journal Writing

9) Sabbath Day Bandits

10) Teaching

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Day

I am exhausted from today, but life is exhilerating (sp?). But am I spending my time effectively? "It is not enough to be busy--so are the ants. The question is: What are we busy about."
---H.D. Thoreau

Victor Hugo wrote, "The supreme happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved."

Does Valentine's Day help towards that conviction? It can be a fun holiday, but I prefer the small sacrifices, heartfelt thoughts, and charitable kindness that surprises you when you least expect it.

From George William Childs:

Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up until your friends are dead. Fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving, cheering words while their ears can hear them, and while their hearts can be thrilled and made happier by them.

On that note, I know you read this on occaision mom, so I just want to quickly tell you how much I love you. You are such a good mother, and now that I am out and about associating with girls, you make it very difficult for me to ever find a celestial star with your wonderful qualities. Have a million dollar day!

"And the moral of that is--"Oh, tis love, tis love, that makes the world go round."
--Lewis Carroll

Monday, February 11, 2008


A family that taught me by example about charity and hard work.

Some thoughts before I sleep.

In my creative writing class today, a classmate read an essay he entitled "Messages" about a few experiences on his mission. One of the things that lingered with me was a discussion the class had about his title. He originally had his title "Messengers," but changed it to "Messages" because he wanted to focus on the fact that it is the message that is important. I agreed with him at the time, and I think I still agree with him now, but my opinion towards the importance of the messenger is also starting to change.

When talking about the gospel, of course it's the message that is the meat--it's the message that Christ lives, that He atoned for our sins and redeemed us from death ,that carries power. But the messenger, both the Holy Ghost and the teacher (whether it be a prophet, missionary, or best friend) wields so much influence on the hearer that a true testimony cannot be gained without it. That's why it's so important to have the spirit when teaching or learning about the gospel--and also why it's so important that we gather often to bear testimony, pray, renew our covenants, and listen to direction of our leaders. It's why good examples in our life, people that inspire and motivate, exhort and correct, are so important. We take the message to heart because of the way we feel when we are around the messenger. One of my favorite poems illustrates the effect a good leader and example can have on an individual (and on a family). Matthew Arnold wrote Rugby Chapel as he was sitting at his father's graveside, thinking on the life that his father had lived. It's a long poem, so I won't quote the whole thing, but here is a portion that I think is applicable.

But thou would’st not alone
Be saved, my father! alone
Conquer and come to thy goal,
Leaving the rest in the wild.
We were weary, and we
Fearful, and we in our march
Fain to drop down and to die.
Still thou turnedst, and still
Beckonedst the trembler, and still
Gavest the weary thy hand.

If, in the paths of the world,
Stones might have wounded thy feet,
Toil or dejection have tried
Thy spirit, of that we saw
Nothing—to us thou wast still
Cheerful, and helpful, and firm!
Therefore to thee it was given
Many to save with thyself;
And, at the end of thy day,
O faithful shepherd! to come,
Bringing thy sheep in thy hand.

Ok, it's a smaller portion than I wanted (RC is a long poem...) but I think it helps clarify my thought that, really, those examples and influences in our life are, at times, almost as important as the message, because with out them, the message's meaning is lost in the "noise" of the world around the hearer.

Flip the Bird

Speed. Stamina. Hand-eye coordination. Dogged determination. These are the skills necessary for a succesful badminton team. (oh...and you need headbands. Can't forget headbands). Admittedly, we didn't place first in our lower-division bracket. But we did place. And we weren't last.

Our journey for mastery of the shuttlecock (that's what the little bird thing is called, for all of you living in ignorance to this grand Olympic sport) began with a Monday open gym night. A Chinese mystic going by Simon (we couldn't pronounce his real name), took it upon himself to educate us on the art of Badminton. After one session with Simon, the Chatsworth Deuce was ready for the tournament.

Did we win the coveted BYU intramural t-shirts? No. But our friends did (see above picture). And in life, it's not what you know (or what you win...) that's important, it's who you know.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Vertical Mining Exercise

Working on "vertical mining" in creative writing (whatever that means...). I've made a few jokes about how much I hate it in class, so Prof Earl is starting to prod me a bit. So, I will attempt to create "vertically mine" my day today.

Cake decorating book, color of clowns, distracting me from Management Economics.
Dream State Scottish poetry, Alba Einstein and Adorno. Negative is the negative is the negative, dialectics.
Floor Four, Floor One, "where ya goin, hun" "to officially declare
An English minor in that building over there."
Time me, time you, workshop time, and the creative juice is through.

I see a familiar green bag and "puffiness" from a distance, walking up stairs by a statue of Chalk Man Himself, Circle of Integrity, Mr. Maze.
Been waiting long, I ask
When I know the answer is no. Miss, Miss, you dropped your pen. Er...I'm a moron.

DI, nice try, rusty pocketknife. One size fits all and the yellow canary ain't lyin about that.
Can't lie when you're stuffed in a vase, with germs on your face
Step ladder up and lets chute her off!

King me, queen you, red, black, non-island style
Spring, summer--who knows what
The future holds for us (or anyone)

But let's burn a match and wait
Til someone wins the pain.

Politics this, and politics that
Everyone in the room is a Democrat
Shouldn't the Y be more conservative? My!
Political Political Political Review.

Institute lesson, I needed that.
Brother Hobson????!!?
It's true, it's true.
Political Political Political review???

Homework, wait N2, L. Thomas, hey!
How do you know her...hmmm...
Face goes red (but whos?).

OK. That's about enough of that. Everything turns into a poem when I vertical mine.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Metaphor #1

You're going to get a #5--the grilled chicken sandwhich with tomato and lettuce. Looks so good and juicy and it sounds perfect. Tina, who's name you know only because you see the outlines of her worn out name tag as you approach the register, smiles politely but not enthusiastically and asks, "What can I get for you today?" You are about to say a #5, the thing you thought you wanted all along, the reason you've been standing in line for 8 minutes counting the number of times the ice machine has turned on.

But see something else on the menu. And suddenly you feel like a burger...or...a salad. Ahh, hmmm...yeah. A salad is more healthy--maybe a crispy chicken salad. And the bacon cheeseburger looks good. Haven't had one of those for a while. The grilled chicken sandwhich you thought you wanted the most suddenly isn't what you want the most. Or... is it? You're only having doubts because you are about to order and make the $6.26 cent decision. And the person behind you is tapping her Sasquatch size foot..tap...tap...tap

That, in a nutshell, is my life right now. Except, the restaurant is inside a semi truck careening towards a 3,338 foot cliff and I have to steer, and order, and cook the food. At the same time. One of the tires is flat, there's a techno song blaring in prestissimo with the synthesizer beating faster and faster and faster top it all of...Tina (and the drink lady, Faye) doesn't really seem to like me...